Semi-finals taking shape in Hollingsworth

Howard May
Howard May
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Peterborough Milton progressed through to the Hollingsworth Trophy semi-finals after recording their fourth win in four Group A games with a thrilling 3-2 success at Whittlebury Park.

Robert Fredericks and Neil Brown gave Milton the ideal start by taking the first point, but Whittlebury responded with wins for Simon Orrey and Martin Conley (3&2) and Peter Coles and Michael Page (4&2).

The visitors kept the match alive when Sav Fasulo and Bob Duthie beat Jason Robinson and Michael Hancock, before Rory Edwards and Howard May sealed the away victory 2&1.

Milton’s success was a cruel blow for Wellingborough, who picked up their third win of the campaign by thrashing Priors Hall at home.

Needing a big win and a Peterborough defeat to secure a last four spot, Wellingborough kept up their end of the deal with a whitewash victory over the Corby club.

Brampton Heath missed the opportunity to top Group B at the expense of Oundle after losing a play-off at Stoke Albany in their final match.

Needing a victory to overtake Oundle in the standings, Brampton made a dreadful start as Harry Brown and Paul Bull lost the opening tie with Adrian Chester and Sam Clarke 6&5.

Mark Halliday and Gary McAllister levelled the match with a 3&2 success, but Nathan Bull and Andrew Sewell lost by the same score to Andy Reuthe and Barry Stone to give Stoke the advantage.

Fraser Carnihan and Guy Loveland won the last tie for Brampton on the 17th hole, but Toby Clarke and Rab Wilson confirmed the home victory against Jack Brown and Steve Crane on the fifth extra hole.

Northampton recorded a walkover 5-0 home win over Cherwell Edge in the remaining match in the section.

Northants County’s excellent record on their home track proved vital in Group C as they grabbed a semi-final berth on points difference.

In their final match against Staverton Park at home, County were always in control once Harry Larkins and Matthew Myers recorded a 6&5 win in the first game.

Malcolm Watkins and Ben Garrett doubled the lead, before Paul Harris and Dan Roberts (4&2) and Simon Richmond and Andrew Nicholson (3&1) added further home points. Bart Fomerleau and Leigh Foster won the last tie for Staverton.

With no team managing an away victory in the section before the weekend, Overstone Park knew a win at Daventry would guarantee first place ahead of County.

Although the visitors took three matches the distance, including two into extra holes, they came out on the wrong end on each occasion as Daventry completed a whitewash win.

Farthingstone came close to snatching first place in Group D from Kettering after ending their season with a victory at Rushden.

Needing to win 5-0 to clinch a last four spot, Farthingstone made the perfect start as Paul Hodgkiss and Derek Campbell took game one 4&3 before William Cox and Ian Donald clinched a 2&1 victory.

Rushden bounced back with a 2&1 win in the next game and also took the closing tie on the 17th, but Farthingstone secured their third victory of the year when Peter Thorp and Ian Allan edged a tight contest.

Kettering will face Northants County in the semi-final at Cold Ashby on Sunday, September 23. Local rivals Peterborough Milton and Oundle will meet in their last four encounter on the same day at Kettering.